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New Orleans Saints rookie roundup: UDFA wide receiver impresses

Marquez Callaway stepped up in a big way

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints hosted the Carolina Panthers in their first home game with fans this season. New Orleans pulled out a narrow 27-24 victory coming off of their bye week over Carolina.

The Saints were without their top two wide receivers, Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19), but the offense was as efficient as ever. New Orleans converted 12 of 14 third-down attempts and scored on all but one possession.

Quarterback Drew Brees was still able to throw all over the field to the tune of 287 yards and two touchdowns while completing 29 of his 36 pass attempts.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Alvin Kamara and undrafted rookie receiver Marquez Callaway led the way in the passing game. Kamara caught all eight of his targets for 65 yards while Callaway had a career game with eight catches for 75 yards.

Callaway was on the field for 73 percent of snaps on offense and made the absolute most of them. He filled in nicely in Thomas and Sanders’ absences all while wearing the number of former Saints receiver Marques Colston.

First-round rookie Cesar Ruiz started at guard and remained in the game for all 70 offensive snaps. New Orleans might be without tackle Terron Armstead, who left the game in the first half with an arm injury, for their Week 8 matchup against Chicago. The Saints will need Ruiz and the offensive line to step up against the Bears’ explosive pass rush.

Third-round tight end Adam Trautman saw 28 snaps but did not record a catch. Fellow third-round rookie Zack Baun played more snaps at linebacker (13) than special teams (12) for the first time this season, which could be a sign of things to come.

Baun excelled as a pass rusher at Wisconsin, racking up 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks as a senior. With a defensive line that has struggled to generate pressure all season, it could be worth getting him some reps in that role moving forward.

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